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Steppe Wisent
Steppe Bison
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Artiodactyla
Family Bovidae
Genus Bison
Species †B. priscus
Conservation Status
EXSpecies
Extinct

The steppe bison or steppe wisent (Bison priscus) is an extinct bison found on steppes throughout Europe, Central Asia, Beringia, and North America during the Quaternary. It is believed that it evolved somewhere in South Asia which would have it appearing at roughly the same time and region as the aurochs with which its descendants are sometimes confused.

The steppe wisent became extinct in the late Pleistocene, as it was replaced in Europe by the modern wisent species and in America by a sequence of species (first Bison latifrons, and somewhat later, Bison antiquus) culminating in the modern American bison.

The steppe wisent was over two metres tall and resembled the modern bison species, reaching 900 kg (1984 lbs) in weight. The tips of the horns were a metre apart, the horns themselves being over half a metre long.

Steppe wisent occasionally appear in cave art, notably in the Cave of Altamira and Lascaux, and have been found in naturally ice-preserved form.

Gallery

  • Bison priscus skeleton
  • Bison priscus skull
  • Cave painting in Altamira, Spain